North High School Wall of Honor
John (Jack) James MacDade
Class of January, 1944
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
John (Jack) James MacDade
In the summer of 1942, Jack decided to enlist. He made a visit to the Des Moines Recruiting Station, but when it came time for the "evaluation/decision", they told him, "You have flat feet! We cannot accept you." Disconsolate about the proceedings, he conversed with his sister who told him, "I know someone at Fort Des Moines. I'll talk with him." She did. The result was that Jack met Captain Miller who said, "We'll find the correct niche for you." Captain Miller accompanied Jack to the Des Moines Navy Recruiting Office. The Navy recruiter said, "Just to over to that table and sign on the line." Jack proceeded to the table. When he read the letterhead, it said "United States Marine Corps." Jack said to the Navy recruiter and to Captain Miller, "Wait a minute! With flat feet, I'm not going to sign up for those many miles of marching with a full field backpack. I thought I was talking with you about joining the Navy." The Navy Recruiter said, "They are the same thing." After lengthy conversation, the Navy recruiter said, "Come back this afternoon." That afternoon Jack and Captain Miller returned and Jack "signed on the line", this time for the US Navy. Actually, Jack thought he was signing up for the Naval Reserves, but on December 12, 1942, the call came for him to report to the Great Lakes Naval Training Program in IL!
During the 13-weeks of Great Lakes training, they assured Jack they would teach him "how to sleep in a hammock." They didn't. At the completion of the Great Lakes training, they gave Jack a questionnaire, "What would you like to do in the Navy?" Jack listed his desires as (1) submarine service and (2) PT boat service. They paid no attention to the results of the questionnaires. They shipped the entire class to Norfolk, VA where they boarded a recently-christened "second Yorktown, CV-10." (The original USS Yorktown was in the Battle of Midway, June 4-6, 1942, and was fatally wounded by submarine torpedoes on June 6, 1942). The CV-10 Yorktown made its way to South America (for a sign-off on the construction, etc.), through the Panama Canal, to Hawaii for a couple of days, and then on to their intended destination 900 miles south, Marcus Island, arriving in early 1943. Several years of duty spent on the USS Yorktown CV-10, pictured below.
Insignia and photo of USS Yorktown CV-10.
Jack eventually was transferred to the Oceanus, Hull ARB-2/LST-518, Aristaeus-class battle damage repair ship (below) in the San Francisco Bay area.
ARB-2 USS Oceanus; Aristaeus class Battle Damage Repair Ship: Displacement: 3,700 tons; Length: 328'; Beam: 50'; Draft: 15'; Speed: 11.5 knots;
Armament: 2x4 40mm, 8 20mm; Complement: 251; Diesel engines, twin screws; Built at Philadelphia Navy Yard, and commissioned 22 May 1943
Jack spent four months aboard the Oceanus, Hull ARB-2 before discharge and returning to the Des Moines area. At the time of his discharge, he was a Gunner's Mate, 2nd Class. His service number was XXX. When he returned to the Des Moines area, he completed his GED at Old West High in 1946-4
(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(1) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at John (Jack) James MacDade's 1944 class page can be vieed at
01/29/10: Living in Fort Collins, CO
Music: "Anchors Aweigh"
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